Discovery Earnings Up 9% for First Quarter

Discovery Communications reported higher first quarter earnings despite a slow U.S. ad market and foreign currency headwinds.

Net income rose 9% to $250 million, or 37 cents a share, from $230 million, or 33 cents a share a year ago.

Revenues rose 9% to $1.6 billion.

"2015 is off to a great start, as our strategy of investing in and owning world-class content to leverage across our unparalleled global distribution platform continues to drive operating momentum and strong financial results," CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. "Despite facing a challenging U.S. marketplace and foreign currency headwinds, Discovery is successfully building market share, expanding our distribution and developing programming that resonates with audiences around the world. I'm extremely pleased with our strong performance this quarter and the numerous opportunities Discovery has in the months and years ahead."

Adjusted operating income for Discovery's U.S. networks rose 10% to $425 million. Revenues rose 6%.

Domestic ad revenues were up 1% to $375 million. On Discovery's conference call with analysts, Zaslav said that the company expected the ad market to remain "tepid" for the remainder of the year.

Domestic distribution income was up 13%. Discovery's distribution agreement with Comcast is close to expiring. "We remain optimistic that Comcast and Discovery will reach an agreement that is fair and valuable for both companies," Zaslav said.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.